The students in my schools are consistently eager to learn and enthusiastic about new and exciting learning opportunities, despite the challenges that they face outside of the classroom. Our students live in an urban, low-income city comprised largely of immigrant families. Many of our students speak a language other than English at home. Outside of school, our students are often met with low expectations simply because of environmental and socio-economic factors, which they cannot control.
What our students can control is their enthusiasm, their effort, and their resiliency, and these qualities are regularly on full display in school.
I am continually impressed by how the majority of our students approach challenging tasks, and eagerly apply a range of skills and creativity to solve novel problems. Every student has their own learning style and needs, and requires different methods, materials, and strategies in order to be successful. It is our job as educators to provide those various resources and opportunities so that every student can learn.
We need to provide frequent opportunities for our students to engage in authentic, innovative learning experiences to keep them motivated and engaged.
As a technology integration coach, I work with teachers and students in grades 1-4. One of my goals is to increase students' access to STEAM experiences; hands-on tasks to engage in innovative creative thinking and collaborative problem solving. Our students need more opportunities to develop the 21st century skills that will be essential for their success in life.
I have recently added a LEGO table to our school makerspace, and now we need more LEGOs for students to use as they collaborate on challenging and creative LEGO tasks and design challenges!
STEM activities and our makerspace provide opportunities for students to engage in hands-on discovery, invention, and understanding, as they apply and investigate scientific concepts and skills, address real-life problems with creative thinking, and use technology in innovative ways to solve problems. Students can engage in innovative creative thinking and collaborative problem solving, by applying STEM concepts and modern technology and engineering-based skills in class, and outside of school during enrichment opportunities.
One of my main goals in integrating STEM and making into classrooms is for students to learn and apply the engineering design process, as they work in teams to imagine new ideas, build models, investigate concepts, make discoveries, and develop their own understandings. STEM projects can connect to all areas of the curriculum, but most importantly, students will develop invaluable 21st century skills, the 4 Cs--critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.
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